Jack Russell Memorial Stadium

The announcement that the Dunedin Blue Jays will play their “A” league season home games at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium while their own stadium is being remodeled prompted Steve Cooper and me to pay a visit to the Phils’ former spring stomping grounds in Clearwater yesterday.  In its heyday, Jack Russell was a gorgeous, intimate place to watch aspiring major leaguers and those already in the show on their field of dreams.

Here’s a view of the old stadium ticket window and entrance, courtesy of littleballparks.com, as I recall first encountering it in 1993.

Jack Russell View to Entrance

Here was the view from behind home plate as it was then:

Jack Russell view from home plate

The views quite different now, with the distinctive Hooters sign gone from its perch above the left field wall, but the beautiful batters eye in center field still in place flanked by a new electronic score board.

IMG_0527

IMG_0500

Here’s a quick video survey of the current interior of the field.

Found a ball in foul condition down the muddied left field line that served as a nice prop, leaving Coop and me to wonder if this was Iowa after all.

IMG_0528

Here’s a view inside the dugout on the 3rd base side, bat racks still in place.

IMG_0498

And the view from the 3rd base side over toward right field with the old red-trimmed home clubhouse still in the background.

IMG_0499

Here’s a similar view of the original clubhouse back in the day, and I had forgotten that the Hooters VIP Diamond Dugout (beyond first base in those days) originated with Jack Russell!

Old view of clubhouse at JR

Here’s a cute fact about the old Jack Russell Stadium from baseballpilgrimages.com: “During the Clearwater Phillies inaugural season the stadium’s organist, Wilbur Snapp, was thrown out of a game for playing ‘Three Blind Mice’ after a close call at first base went against the home team. His ejection on June 26, 1985 marked the only time in baseball history that an umpire ejected an organist.”

But the pièce de résistance of the refurbishment so far is the new monument walkway behind home plate.  Monument row was dedicated last March to commemorate some of the great ballplayers who graced the field at Jack Russell.  If you come to Clearwater, it’s worth a visit.

IMG_0515

IMG_0510

IMG_0513

Uh-oh!  Just noticed a typo on the Stadium History plaque that will need to be fixed.  Can you spot the error?

Image-1-5

That’s right.  The final game of spring training couldn’t have been May 28, 2003.  On that date the Phils were playing the Mets at Veterans Stadium, so I’m sure it was March 28.  But everything else appears to be factual. 😉

IMG_0512

IMG_0505

IMG_0504

IMG_0501

IMG_0506

IMG_0503

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Jack Russell Memorial Stadium

  1. drdanpress says:

    Wonderful blog! I thought the spelling error you were referring to was “accomodate”. I figured you of all people would catch that 🙂

  2. Marc Rachmuth says:

    Thank you….

  3. Robin Neubart says:

    I remember going with my Dad to a few games at old Jack Russell Stadium. Parking was kind of a problem.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s